Dishes, Lesson #5

Ekikopo (eh-chee-koh-poe)

I don’t know how to write phonetically.  But I think you get the idea.

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I’m working on some language lessons these days.

The method I’m trying to convince my friend to use in teaching me, highly relies on visuals and me listening.

Ekikopo means cup.  You can almost hear the word cup hidden in there.  So it’s an easy one.  Actually, I’ve known it for a long time.  But sometimes I like to keep those familiar words in the pile to help me build up my confidence in learning new words.

Cups are constantly in my sink, needing attention.  I’m living in a culture that lives on tea.  I mean, not literally, but sometimes it feels like.  The little boys in my home drink a cup of tea every morning with their breakfast.  And if I wasn’t afraid of wet sheets, they’d probably have another one after school everyday.  I usually have at least one cup of tea (if not several) throughout the day.  And basically anyone who comes to my house does as well.  And these tea-drinking visitors are frequent.

So, I’m often swishing my dish cloth around these ebikoko.  (That’s cups.  As in plural.  Yeah, I’m learning some things.  Who’s got my gold star?)

Most of the time when I am washing cups, my mind inevitably goes to a Scripture.  One where Jesus was talking to the religious leaders about washing cups.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee!  First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

Matthew 23:25-26

At first glance, a cup might look clean.

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You might grab it, ready to fill it up.  But looking inside could stop you in your tracks.

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No one wants to use the cup that is dirty on the inside for their next cup of tea.

What a simple, yet powerful picture Jesus gave the Pharisees to see how they were living their lives.  They were putting up the image that they were perfect, holy, righteous, to be admired…Yet, they were disgusting, repulsive even, on the inside.

If you see a cup is a little dirty on the outside, but clean on the inside you might be tempted to use it, if you’re desperate (or really hate washing dishes).  But if it is dirty on the inside, I doubt you would even give it a thought at all to go ahead and pour in your beverage.  You’d look for another, or grab the cloth and clean it out.

I’m currently living in a culture that seems to prioritize keeping the outside of the cup clean.

Polishing your shoes before walking on a long, dusty road to school. Wearing your best dress when you are sick and need to go to the hospital.  Washing the car for church, despite the mud you will drive through to get there.

Sometimes I wonder if people are ever as concerned about the sick body going to the hospital. The confused mind walking to school. The broken heart that is being driven to church.

Jesus accused the Pharisees of being full of greed and self-indulgence inside, despite their image.

I don’t know if you have the same ugliness inside of you as Jesus saw in the Pharisees, or if it is something else.  The truth is, we all have some ugliness inside of us.  And Jesus sees it all.  And it needs to be cleaned out.  And it can be cleaned out.

The one who sees the dirtiness the best is the best one to clean it out.

God formed us as His vessels to be used for His purposes.  But too often we mess it up.  The good news is, if we submit to Him, He will clean us up, and once again we will be ready to fulfill His purpose.  But it doesn’t happen just once.  It is a continual process of repentance and cleansing…and refreshing.

When we are clean on the inside, it is even reflected on the outside.

Many times when I’ve got a sudsy ekikopo in my hand I find my mind going to these words of Jesus….don’t just clean the outside of the cup, but the inside as well.  Then it turns to a prayer.

God, forgive me.  Cleanse me.  Keep me from falling into these same sins all the time.  Make me new.  Help me not to be hypocritical, putting forth an image that is not consistent with what is truly happening inside of me.  Lead me away from temptation.  Help me to stand firm in the truth when it comes my way.  Be with the boys who have used these cups.  Cleanse them.  Forgive them.  Help them to overcome the temptations they have.  Help them to hear the voice of your Holy Spirit, and obey it.  Develop within them repentant hearts.  May we be a reflection of you from the inside out….

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